Thuille, a Savoyard,
created a name for himself in Munich’s
academic life. Now, if his name is known
at all, it is because of his famous
pupils who included Hermann Abendroth,
Ernest Bloch and Walter Braunfels. His
writing as a composer has been overshadowed
by his reputation as a teacher. Perhaps
all that will be changed by this CD.
It deserves to. In fact he wrote plentifully
with almost one hundred songs and six
operas although I can find only three
listed in my old edition of Grove. The
operas include the comedy Theuerdank
from 1894 which cut quite a dash for
a year or two although not heard until
1897 (Munich). Lobetanz (Carlsruhe,
1898) is reputedly superior to Humperdinck's
Hänsel und Gretel being
similar in style. Gugeline (1900,
Bremen 1901) is suppose to be even stronger.
There is an 1887 sextet for piano and
wind instruments (recorded), also a
cello sonata said to be one of his most
important works and two violin sonatas.
The Romantic Overture is in fact
the prelude to Theuerdank and
there is said tobe a Symphony as well.
You may also find some attractive works
for women’s and men's choruses.
Music tumbles in lyrically
limitless profusion from the first movement
of his 1901 Piano Quintet. This is music
of the school of Schumann with bounding
energy and a tendency to ‘Hollywood
weepy’ sentiment. The torrential flow
can be compared with the work of Karl
Weigl, Cyril Scott and John Foulds.
It is notable that this dynamism extends
from bass to top. There is more restraint
- almost austerity - in the adagio assai
which is a quarter hour long. The third
movement is gusty and bumpily energetic.
The finale is thematically inventive
again in the thrusting Schumann vein.
I would be surprised if you were not
well and truly engaged by Thuille's
striking romanticism. He even ends the
piece freshly and without resort to
easy finale clichés.
The three movement
G minor work is much shorter. This is
more conventional than the E flat quintet.
It is, after all, the work of a 19 year
old. It steams along with a rather vacuous
fervour in the first and last movements
but between them comes a very fine larghetto
with memorable writing.
Incidentally, is the
cellist really Mats Lindstrom?
I think not. This is surely Mats Lidstrom
a cellist seemingly forever doomed to
this sort of misprint.
There are good notes
by Richard Whitehouse though I wished
that he had told us more about Thuille's
I hope that this is
not the last we hear of the ardent Thuille.